New NE License Plates Turn Sexy Drivers Into Dorks
In 1905, the world’s largest diamond was found, Eleanor Roosevelt married FDR, the United States Forest Service was established, and, in Nebraska, drivers began registering their vehicles with the state. Thankfully, car owners did not need to be plate-making prison inmates in order to complete the next step: in 1915, the state began issuing metal two-color license plates, forever transforming previously cool car owners into "dorks behind the wheel."
When I buy a car, I don’t look under the hood, kick the tires, or ask for a CarFax report. Instead, I slide in the driver’s seat, roll down the window, adjust the side mirror, flip my hair, and then inquire of my husband (who happens to be kicking the tires, looking under the hood, and asking for the CarFax report), "Do I look sexy?"
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This article was featured on The Weekly Grind, Omaha’s young professional radio program, on January 15, 2011 - Listen to the show!
Truthfully, nothing else matters to me when I am attempting to match a car with my personality. I don’t care what color it is, if it has leather seats, bun warmers, or a built-in GPS. I only want to know if I look like Christie Brinkley in the movie Vacation as she drives by Chevy Chase in her Ferrari—her blonde hair blowing in the breeze, a big smile across her face, and the knowledge that, because of her car, she was the hottest thing since Henry Ford.
After I finally decide on a car, I drive it out of the parking lot and for thirty glorious days, I feel sexy—until I visit the DMV, place my new license plates on my car, and immediately change my behind-the-wheel status from so very H-O-T to really, I am not kidding N-E-R-D-Y. As I pull my shiny car in my driveway, I roll down the window, raise and lower my eyebrows several times, flip my hair, and ask my husband in the huskiest voice I can muster without screaming at a football game for hours:
But I really don’t want to know the answer to a question I already know the answer to, so I stick my fingers in my ears and yell, “La, la, la, la, la.” I see his lips moving, but I have no idea what he is saying, and it is probably best.
As he slowly walks around the car, he stops in front of the rear bumper. Before he can answer, I pull my fingers out from my ears and shriek, "Don’t look at the license plates!" but it is too late. His eyes open wide. It is evident he is mesmerized by the bright yellow and green gorgeousness of the metal plates that now adorn my front and back bumpers—created with loving care by inmates at the Nebraska State Penitentiary. "What kind of bird is this?" he asks as he slips on sunglasses with the hope of preventing cataracts from staring at the dazzling colors that I know remind him of yellow snow and the moss that grows on area lakes in the summer.
"It is our state bird—the meadowlark," I reply like I have known that piece of information for years when in fact, I only learned it that afternoon from the lady behind the counter at the DMV who told me that our state bird is not a sparrow as I had originally thought. Personally, I’ve never seen a meadowlark feasting at my own backyard bird feeder, but that’s beside the point apparently.
"And what is this flower that looks alarmingly like the plant California recently tried to legalize?" my husband asks as he points to the license plate.
"Why, that is our state flower—the golden rod," I answer. "Remember the flower that makes us sneeze violently from April until October ever year?"
He nods, winks, and just before he walks inside, he turns around to add, "Nice plates." I sigh. I know deep inside that license plates are not supposed to be sexy, but just once, I’d love to drive around with a license plate that did not proudly announce I live in "The Beef State" or "The Cornhusker State" but instead plainly stated with a lovely, eye-pleasing two-color background, Nebraska … The Cool State.
Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?